In recent times, there have been many cases of people being injured while undergoing cosmetic surgery. One major problem is that some medical practitioners are holding themselves out as being cosmetic surgeons when they do not possess specialist qualifications.
Cosmetic surgery involves alteration of the appearance of part of the body by cutting beneath the skin. It can provide a person with a more desirable appearance or increase their self-esteem. Procedures include breast augmentation or reduction, liposuction and face lifts. While the focus is on appearance, it is still surgery and carries risks.
Non-surgical cosmetic procedures can include piercing the skin. It encompasses injections and laser treatments. They may not be as invasive, but they can lead to serious consequences including death if not performed properly.
Cosmetic Surgeons vs Plastic Surgeons
There is a significant difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon. To become a specialist plastic surgeon, the doctor must have at least 12 years of education in medicine and surgery including a minimum of 5 years specialist training. When a person holds themselves out as being a cosmetic surgeon, this does not mean that they have special training. They could be a general practitioner with no training or experience beyond a medical degree. It is a breach of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s (AHPRA) guidelines to present as a cosmetic surgeon. However, this does not appear to be adequately investigated and enforced.
Another issue with cosmetic surgery concerns sedation and the use of an anaesthetist. There have been cases of the types or amounts of anaesthetic used during cosmetic surgery leading to brain injury or death. When doctors administer anaesthetic without using a specialised anaesthetist, they do not have the training to monitor and respond to complications that arise.
When so called cosmetic surgeons perform procedures, the surgeries may be undertaken in the doctor’s rooms rather than an accredited hospital or facility. These places lack the emergency equipment and appropriately trained staff to handle complications.
One of our clients underwent negligent cosmetic surgery involving all these issues. She had breast enhancement surgery performed by a general practitioner holding himself out as a cosmetic surgeon. The surgery was performed in a clinic with the same general practitioner administering the anaesthetic himself. Unfortunately, the surgery was poorly performed and has left our client seriously injured.
There have been cases of late in the media of these cosmetic surgery issues. People have died or been left with serious injuries from unqualified people injecting anaesthetic or injectable fillers, and procedures being performed in unregulated clinics. Doctors with no more training after a medical degree have been holding themselves out as cosmetic surgeons and leaving a wave of abysmal procedures in their path.
Before undergoing cosmetic surgery, it is important to meet with the surgeon, discuss the procedure and qualifications of medical practitioners involved, and understand the possible risks and outcomes of the surgery. To determine whether a person is a specialist plastic surgeon or anaesthetist, you can search the AHPRA website. This will also show any conditions or reprimands that may have been placed on the doctor’s registration.
Circumstances Giving Rise to a Cosmetic Surgery Negligence Claim
Whether you have had cosmetic surgery from a general doctor or a specialist plastic surgeon, errors can occur.
Common cases involve breast enhancements that have gone wrong. The procedure may be performed negligently resulting in physical injuries, scarring beyond that expected from the surgery, psychiatric injury, and the need for further corrective surgery.
If you have suffered a permanent injury from cosmetic surgery which was not a recognised consequence of the procedure, you may be entitled to compensation.
You could claim damages for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
When something goes wrong with cosmetic surgery, you need guidance from expert medical negligence lawyers who can get you the Compensation You Deserve.